Canada's national theme for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale will be a multimedia investigation of the country's resource extraction industry, as announced earlier this week by the Canada Council for the Arts. Titled "Extraction", the project profiles and "radically rethinks" Canada's rise as a "global resource empire" by delving into the histories, architectures, and political economies of the industry. The theme was selected as the winner of a national competition. In 2014, the well-regarded "Arctic Adaptions: Nunavut at 15" exhibition represented Canada.
Considering that the Great White North is home to 75% of Earth's prospecting and mining companies, resource extraction runs deep in the country's roots. "Extraction" will include an installation, a film, and a book featuring various perspectives drawn from history, business, art, activism, and more. Catherine Crowston of the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) was appointed as the project's Official Commissioner while landscape urbanist Pierre Bélanger will lead the design team as Project Curator and Director.
With support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the AGA, the Project & Design Team includes design and media organization OPSYS, in collaboration with: Geoffrey Thün, Kathy Velikov and Colin Ripley of architectural practice RVTR; Nina-Marie Lister with Ryerson University’s Ecological Design Lab; and Kelsey Blackwell of Studio Blackwell.
Additionally, the multimedia exhibition that will be displayed during the Biennale will feature contributions from prominent Canadian creatives like Michael Awad, Jennifer Baichwal, Edward Burtynsky, Nick de Pencier, Eriel Deranger, Max Haiven, Thomas King, Alessandra Ponte, John Van Nostrand, Mel Watkins, Suzanne Zeller, and more.
"Extraction" debuts in Venice on May 27, 2016 in time for the Biennale. After the festival ends on November 27, 2016, the project will embark on a national tour during the 150th commemoration of Canada's Confederation in 2017.
'Canada has become a global resource culture — our operations, technologies, and services are nearly in every country on the surface of the earth, yet almost nobody knows the full extent of it...,' Pierre Bélanger commented in a press statement. 'At the base of this complex yet democratic conversation is the question of land, and landscape. That’s powerful.'